Things move fast in the age of social media, so just in case you're a little lost on the latest happenings with rap superstar Cardi B. here's a brief recap of what had happened this past week.
A recently surfaced Instagram video shows Cardi B saying that she used to drug and rob men. Now the internet is divided over whether or not to cancel her.
The video, which Cardi says was made three years ago, made its way onto Twitter last weekend and features Cardi reminiscing about the time when she worked as a stripper — a time when, she said, “I’d drug ni**as up and I’d rob them.”
Cardi has since confirmed the video is real and apologized for it after it caused an uproar on social media. “I made the choices I did at the time because I had very limited options,” she wrote on an Instagram post on Tuesday, adding, “I have a past that I can’t change we all do.”
For some fans, though, Cardi’s past is beyond the pale. Tweeting under the hashtag #SurvivingCardiB — a reference to the Lifetime docuseries about R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse — many have compared Cardi’s actions to those of both Kelly and the similarly disgraced Bill Cosby
While the controversy is simmering on, it seems unlikely to put a major dent in Cardi’s career in the same way that Surviving R. Kelly seems to have dampened Kelly’s. But it is raising major questions about our current era of celebrity cancel culture: Who do we forgive, for what, and why? And are we going to forgive Cardi B?
Cardi’s video frames her history of robbery as something she had to do to survive
The video in question seems to have first hit the public spotlight on Sunday, when it was tweeted by the account @HipHopRatchet with the caption, “Cardi says she used to what?” It features an emotional Cardi apparently responding to the idea that she doesn’t deserve her success because she didn’t “work for it.”
The scandal is overshadowing Cardi for the time being, but it seems unlikely to slow her down for long.
For one thing, there’s the difference in degree between what Cardi says she did and what Cosby and Kelly’s accusers say they did. Cosby and Kelly have been accused of repeatedly, over a period of decades, using the power they accumulated as celebrities to drug and rape women (in Cosby’s case) and to rape and abuse women and young girls (in Kelly’s case). Cardi says that she drugged and robbed men before she became a rich and powerful celebrity, in order to survive. Cosby and Kelly have been accused of repeated violent and sadistic abuses of power over decades; Cardi has admitted to a crime of survival.
Drugging and robbing somebody is unquestionably wrong, but Cardi’s sins are on a different level than those of which Kelly has been accused and Cosby convicted. Comparisons between the three are unlikely to stick for long.